That gingerbread syrup I made last week was crying out to be used in a Gingerbread Old Fashioned cocktail so I gave in to the pressure and made one. It tasted more delicious better paired with an actual gingerbread cookie. It had a touch of bite from the ginger, plenty of sweetness from the syrup and the baking spices, and just a hint of molasses’ earthiness.
I wish I’d made two.
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History of Gingerbread
Historians have traced forms of gingerbread back to 2400 BCE – in ancient Greece. Early forms were likely just bread flavored with ginger. Later, it came to Europe through the Silk Road and appeared in the 10th and 11th centuries in Europe as a bread or cookie used to soothe stomachs.
The tradition of gingerbread cookies and lively decorated gingerbread houses came about around the time of Queen Elizabeth I when she and her court popularized shaping and decorating them.
What is an Old Fashioned Cocktail?
If you’re new to the blog you can start your education about the Old Fashioned cocktail with my article: How to Make a Perfect Old Fashioned. The Old Fashioned is one of the oldest cocktails we have recorded – and it’s one of the simplest. A classic Old Fashioned is just whiskey, bitters, and sugar – served over ice and chilled.
The best Old Fashioneds keep the whiskey as the star of the cocktail and don’t detract from the taste of a great whiskey. In this case, the gingerbread syrup can line up and support the baking spice and vanilla flavors of the cookie, and add that bit of ginger spice and earthly molasses flavors to create a great stand-alone cocktail.
Flavors in a Gingerbread Old Fashioned Cocktail
Like any great gingerbread cookie or bread, this cocktail has a plethora of seasonal flavors in it – from the homemade gingerbread infused simple syrup to the bitters and garnish to dress up the drink.
The gingerbread syrup itself is brown sugar simple syrup infused with whole spices and some ground ginger to add a little kick. The syrup has cinnamon, allspice, clove, cardamom and a touch of star anise if you love licorice flavors. Find out more about this gingerbread syrup for cocktails here.
While I do own gingerbread bitters, I’ve never been able to find them again. Now I use ginger and cinnamon bitters to stand in for them if you can’t find gingerbread bitters.
In addition, the cocktail is garnished with a gingerbread cookie. Either eat it on its own or as a food pairing with the drink itself.
How to Make a Gingerbread Old Fashioned
The best part about Old Fashioneds is how easy they are to make. You’ll add the ingredients to a mixing glass and fill it with ice. For this particular drink, the ingredients are whiskey (bourbon or rye), ginger bitters, a touch of molasses, and gingerbread syrup.
Once the mixing glass is filled with ice, stir for 20 seconds (I slightly under dilute my Old Fashioned so I don’t have to rush drinking it.)
Strain into a chilled rocks glass with one large cube and garnish with an orange twist and a gingerbread cookie.
Other Cocktails You Might Enjoy
- Gingerbread Manhattan
- Homemade Gingerbread Syrup
- Gingerbread Whiskey Sour
- Christmas Syrup
- Holiday (Christmas) Manhattan
- Christmas Old Fashioned
Gingerbread Old Fashioned
- 2 oz bourbon or rye
- ½ oz gingerbread syrup
- 1 bar spoon molasses
- 3 dashes gingerbread bitters or 1 dash ginger bitters and 1 dash cinnamon bitters
- Garnish: gingerbread cookie and/or orange twist
- Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and fill with ice.
- Stir for 20 seconds.
- Strain into a rocks glass with one large cube.
- Garnish with a gingerbread cookie or orange twist.